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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: Ratatat created a surreal atmosphere last night at the Rialto, but their set list was “eh”

    Tom Price

    Ratatat guitarist Mike Stround strums his guitar during their set at The Rialto on Sept. 25.

    Last night, Ratatat graced Tucson with a performance at the Rialto Theater. Hot Sugar, a solo band that played electric-guitar-based techno music, opened with a sound that reminded me of old-school video game music on the levels that were a bit scary, like Bowser’s Castle on Mario Kart. This is not to say that his music was simple and repetitive, but it was actually very musical and obviously well thought-out. It did contain the typical loud bass, high hits and intense drops that most techno/electronic music tends to have, but it still managed to keep my musical attention while making me want to dance. 

    The crowd seemed pretty relaxed while Hot Sugar was playing, but as soon as Ratatat came on stage, the crowd went insane. I mean, beer was splashing everywhere, people were tripping over one-another trying to get a better view and some were even getting upset. I was too distracted by what I was seeing on stage to be able to participate in the nonsense because the two men that everyone was cheering for looked nothing like I imagined them to. 

    The two members of Ratatat, Evan Mast and Mike Stroud, walked on stage, and I was shocked to see they actually look like two kids that like to play guitar in their parent’s garage. Both had long hair and were wearing old T-shirts I’m sure they spent ten seconds deciding to wear, and it was awesome. They completely owned the stage, the crowd, the entire night without having to try to look like stars or pretend to be people they are not. It was really very wonderful to see two people, confident in themselves, being successful without trying to look the part. 

    Ratatat began to play, and the speakers were so loud that the bass actually interfered with my breathing. I could feel the music in every inch of my body, and it was easy to become completely captivated by the sound. The music itself was good, but after a while became stylistically repetitive. Many of their songs had the same sort of structure, but it was perfect for dancing and letting the music take over.

    As if the music wasn’t enough, Ratatat added an entire light show to the concert. This was beyond incredible. Bright beams of all different colors flashed around the room above our heads. The light was so precise it looked like you could reach up and grab one to take home. Different images were projected through screens on the sides of the stage that set a surreal and futuristic mood perfect for the music. The artificial smoke from machines mixed with the light and the theater looked like a growing, living work of art that wanted to dance to Ratatat’s music.  

    Overall, the concert was definitely a success. The performers were incredibly talented and managed the audience well, but the music itself let me down just slightly. I would have preferred to have a more varied set list instead of a level, almost stagnant, set. Still, though, the music selection was perfect for the usual head bobbing and fist pumping, and did a very good job of drifting the audience through the night. Ratatat is an original, well-defined and fun band that I would welcome back to Tucson anytime. 

    Follow Thea Van Gorp on Twitter.

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